We relish the fact that we were able to locate our office in a building with such fantastic history! It was very important to us to preserve such a facility, as opposed to building in a completely new location.
We have done a lot of research about our location through Hutchinson Leader news articles and advertisements; studies prepared at the time this property was offered for sale; and a few artifacts we found during our renovation. We want to know everything we can learn about our building and its past and hope that you will share what you know.
As of 1893, the 36 West portion of our property was developed as a stable for the adjoining Merchant Hotel that was located on the corner of Main Street and Washington Avenue. By 1923, this property was redeveloped with two buildings separated by an alley. The 36 West building housed an auto repair facility. The 40 West building was constructed as a steam laundry and operated under the name Hutchinson Steam Laundry. Lee Motors moved into the auto repair place after 1937 when the Fallon Garage, where it had been operating, was torn down to make room for the State Theater.
In March 1946, Sears announced it would open a retail store in the 36 West building. Before opening, Sears expanded the building with a 22 foot by 70 foot addition to the west which effectively attached the 36 West building to the 40 West Building. In addition, Sears remodeled the main floor of the 36 West building and its basement. The store opened in May with huge crowds.